Thank you for your input.
You have both made very valuable suggestions and I have given me much food for thought.
Interesting perspective on infidelity as a trauma. I agree, it is a trauma - likely the deepest trauma that anybody endures in their life. I will never forget what I have done and the impact it is/has/will have.
I have immersed myself in infidelity recovery resources. I have already read Linda's book and honestly had self-initiated most of what is outlined. It has been very valuable.
Our spouses are not alone. There are so many stories of success and failure out there that you can see what the patterns of successful healing and recovery are. Each relationship has its nuances, but there are patterns.
The stories of success rarely feature a BS taking the route of justice/balance/vengeance. I do not believe that my wife has looked into any of the material I have shared with her.
She has a chorus of supporters telling her that the path to healing is self-discovery and personal growth......via sex with many different men. None of them are suggesting non-sexual self care, taking time out for non-sexual activities, etc. It is evident none of these people have healed from their own relationship traumas.
Our marriage counsellor is a success story of infidelity healing. She doesn't just preach it, she's actually lived it - on both sides. She reached out to my wife to go through things on a more individual level first, acknowledging the betrayal trauma, and my wife simply said "You can't help me." The counsellor, with over 20yrs experience, has said that she has not ever had a client as contemptuous of the process as my wife
My wife insists that she needs time and space. I can understand this. She is getting some IC but it's early days yet. Her need for affection is pathological. Just as is my need for appreciation and validation.
You are correct. It is simply chaos just now.
Thank you for your honesty. What you have said is not dissimilar from what the marriage counsellor, several individual counsellors and several of my "pro-relationship" friends have said.
I could write pages about our history to give an account of the relationship. We have had issues for several years. We had engaged in MC previously (she suggested, I agreed and found a counsellor). I don't feel like my wife engaged wholeheartedly and it didn't get us very far before it was interrupted by COVID-19. My wife has expressed in recent weeks many grievances with our relationship that preceed my betrayal and the first round of MC, so I'm not sure why she couldn't have brought them up then. In these sessions I certainly expressed my concerns about our waning intimacy, increasing amount of stress upon me as the sole income earner and increasing debt, the household labour imbalance, and more. I didn't feel listened to and life just got in the way, as it had done so often before.
You are absolutely right. I chose the easy path. The nothing-burger. I chose fantasy. I am now however, and have been for over 6 months, emotionally detached from my AP. I have no regrets about ending the affair. My regret is that I chose it in the first place.
I have recommitted to my wife, and am willing to do whatever it takes to get us into a better relationship. I'm committed to complete honesty. I have offered access to all of my devices, emails, messaging apps. I am location sharing with Google Maps. I am trying. I am trying very, very hard.
My wife is not a bad person. She is a hurt person. Deeply so. I can understand why she feels as she does. I would feel the same way. I do know in some ways exactly how she feels now that the 'tables have been turned'. I'm hurting too. When I reach out to her, the usual response is "I'm resisting the want to make you feel better because this is not okay!"
Then she tells me that she DOES want to reconcile but only when she is ready, and she has 'healed'. I don't think we can heal individually. We need MC and I'm ready and willing. I've asked her to find the next MC because my previous choices have been met with disapproval. She feeds me crumbs of encouragement. The mixed messaging is tormenting me.
So what am I doing about this situation?
I'm formalising the separation.
I am planning on getting my own place and taking 12 months out of my usual work for mental health purposes. I've been living out of a duffel bag for over 4 years (work-related, complicated) and it's time to create a stable and safe space for me, where I can be at my best for my kids.